The Chinese don’t have an alphabet in the way that we do.
The consequences of not having an alphabet are enormous. There can be no crossword puzzles, no games like Scrabble, no palindromes, no anagrams, no Morse code. In the age of telegraphy, to get around this last problem, the Chinese devised a system in which each word in the language was assigned a number.
From Bill Bryson, Mother Tongue: The Story of the English Language